Stamp Duty Land Tax is complex and ever-shifting, subject to more alterations since inception in 2003 than any other comparable tax. The legislation governing it is now full of exceptions, exemptions and reliefs covering the vast variety of property types and property buyers, not all of which are obvious to conveyancers who are generally inclined – thanks to lack of help from HMRC and conflicting messages from their regulator, the SRA – to differentiate simply between a whether a property is residential or commercial for purposes of SDLT calculation.
This means people buying property with land, outbuildings, woodland or separate annexes, for example, may find themselves paying a higher SDLT bill on their purchase than they should.
Why is SDLT so complex?
Many accountants are not tax expert
Clients tend to be over reliant on their accountant for all tax matters. The complexity of the tax system means that most accountants are no longer experts in tax and specialist tax advice should be sought.
Solicitors, lawyers and agents are not tax specialists, and yet in many cases can become liable in cases where they have made incorrect assumptions regarding a property and the SDLT position which leads to incorrect filings and payments being made.
SDLT legislation has been subject to multiple changes, most recently in July 2016. The full range of changes have significally complicated the application of this tax and led to widespread confusion.
When is SDLT relief available?
Woodlands and orchards
Six or more residential properties
If you have 6 or more residential properties as part of one transaction, there may be a choice between multiple dwellings relief and commercial rates of SDLT.